Akhilesh Yadav welcomes Rahul Gandhi's suggestion for riot-hit victims

Muzaffarnagar/Shamli (Uttar Pradesh), Dec.23 : Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav on Monday welcomed suggestions from Congress Party vice president Rahul Gandhi and other lawmakers to help the Muzaffarnagar riot hit victims.

Gandhi had on Sunday interacted with people languishing in relief camps in Muzaffarnagar and Shamli Districts.

He was accompanied by Minister of State for Home R P N Singh and Congress leader Madhusudan Mistry.

He began his visit by meeting victims at the Malakpur relief camp in Shamli district. Later, he also held interactions at nearby Khurgan and Barnavi camps. He is likely to visit several more camps.

Everyone wants victims of Muzaffarnagar riots to return to their homes. The government has helped them a lot and I have also said that if any political party or the Congress leader (Rahul Gandhi) wants to give any suggestions regarding this, we are all ears to it. If he (Rahul Gandhi) has got any suggestions from them (victims) with the help of which the people can return to their homes, they should tell us. We will also discuss this within our party and talk to people as to how these people can return to their homes and steps will be taken in this regard soon," said Yadav.

Forty five people have died in the prosperous sugarcane district of Muzaffarnagar and surrounding areas since clashes erupted between Muslims and majority Hindu Jats - a conservative farming community - in a sign of rising tension between the two groups ahead of general elections due by May. Government officials say 10 of the dead are Hindus.

Victims are languishing in some 40 schools and mosques which have been converted into relief camps across Muzaffarnagar and neighbouring areas.

Earlier, over 40 children died in the relief camps due severe weather conditions, dengue outbreak and lack of basic hygiene.

The clashes were triggered on August 27 when a Muslim youth was stabbed to death by two Hindu youths after being accused of sexually harassing their sister. A Muslim mob stoned the two Hindus to death.

In the following days the police failed to deal with the perpetrators, and politicians from various parties gave inflammatory speeches, stoking tension between Hindus and Muslims who, local people say, had lived in this area in relative harmony since independence in 1947.

The tension was evident at a Hindu Jat farmers' rally on September 7 to condemn the killing of the Hindu youths. Video footage showed a crowd of several thousand, wielding wooden sticks and swords, listening to speeches by political leaders who called for action against the Muslims.

Bloodshed followed when Hindus returning from the rally clashed with Muslims, local government officials said.

--ANI (Posted on 24-12-2013)

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